You Need a Montage: Final Scene

Sam Halpert, 2014 – 2015 PSJD Fellow

Penguin is Ready!

Okay, grasshoppers. Over the last month, we’ve tackled your resumes and your cover letters. We’ve mastered the art of building, contacting, and maintaining your mentor-and-peer network. We’ve also developed a strategy for talking about work at a party without putting the room to sleep. Our holiday job search training montage is almost complete! The hardest stuff–the things I’ve needed to think through with an expert like Christina–is behind us.

But we’re not done yet. Over the winter break, in addition to putting this series’ advice into practice, remember that we have a few more outstanding holiday job search tips for you to consider. The ones that are left are pretty self-explanatory. You’ll just need to get out and get them done!

  1. Professionalize your online presence. Try Googling yourself. Remember, you’re not safe simply because many people share your name. Employers will have your resume, so see what comes up when you search for yourself using your name and also student groups on your resume, the name of your school, etc. Also look at your social media (employees of prospective employers may be part of your network). Clean up your image where you think you need to. (Ask a career counselor if you’re not sure what image you need to project in these semi-public spaces.)
  2. Visit the courthouse. It’s a great way to expose yourself to a legal work environment, and you might even get a chance to build your network.
  3. Volunteer with a legal aid office. Look through PSJD employer profiles if you’re stumped. See whether you can find someone doing work in your area who needs a hand (often organizations solicit volunteers on their websites).
  4. Write an article, or research a topic. Even if you don’t find a place to publish your ideas, it’s still a great excuse to talk to lawyers who do work you’re interested in. If you have an idea related to topics we cover on PSJD (e.g. a profile piece on what your upper-class friends think they’ve learned one year out from graduation), write to PSJD–we may be interested in publishing your work here on the blog.
  5. Join a bar organization. If you don’t know what practice areas you’d like to follow yet, consider asking your informational meeting network to help you decide.
  6. Update your professional references. The end of the year is a great time to check back in with the people who’ve offered to be your reference in the past. Let them know what you’re up to and at least give them a general sense of where your job search is taking you now. Also, evaluate your references. Are they still relevant for the types of legal positions you’re now seeking? If not, determine who else could potentially be a reference and make that connection. (This task has gone much more smoothly for me with the skills and tools I practiced during the informational meeting portion of the series.)

One more thing: Don’t forget to take a well-earned rest! Hopefully, contemplating these tasks isn’t as daunting as it seemed when we proposed them over Thanksgiving. If you can manage a restful break while still tackling even some of the ideas on this list, you’ll be ready to impress employers in the New Year.

So good luck, and let us know how it goes! If you find anything you’ve read here particularly helpful or you run into unexpected challenges, we’d love to hear about it. Write to us at psjd@nalp.org, and you may see your triumphs or your concerns addressed in future editions of PSJDblog.

Happy holidays!
-Sam

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